Metromile to offer per-mile insurance option to Uber driver partners

Editor’s note: In order to focus on our personal pay-per-mile insurance offering for low-mileage drivers, Metromile no longer offers rideshare insurance.

We are thrilled to announce an innovative solution for driver partners of Uber’s Transportation Network Companies in California, Washington, and Illinois! In our ongoing effort to empower drivers, we have obtained approval for a personal auto insurance product that recognizes and covers the dual nature of rideshare vehicles for personal and commercial use. Driver partners can now feel secure about their insurance coverage and not live in fear of being dropped by their carrier just because they participate in an Uber TNC.

Sign-up will begin in February 2015. Uber driver partners who are interested can add themselves to our waitlist at master-devwww.metromile.com/uber.

The beauty of the Metromile experience revolves around the ability to measure miles. Because we can tabulate all miles driven, it becomes a matter of distinguishing personal miles from “rideshare miles” – specifically, those driven from the moment a driver is matched with a rider until that passenger safely exits, thereby ending the trip. Metromile and Uber will coordinate to verify those timeframes and miles. For each monthly bill, rideshare miles will be subtracted from the total, and the driver is only billed for the personal miles. Rates will still vary by individual, but these are no different than how Metromile determines pricing for current (non rideshare) drivers.

This separation of coverage could translate into big savings for drivers who log most of their miles due to rideshare trips. On average, Metromile customers who drive less than 10,000 personal miles a year are saving 40%-50% on insurance premium.

Not only do drivers have the potential to save money, but ultimately they finally get peace of mind. They no longer have to live in fear of being denied coverage by a personal auto insurer because they participate in an Uber TNC, nor will they worry about coverage during formerly-ambiguous gray areas. Commercial coverage provided by Uber during actual Uber trips is still maintained and does not change because of this partnership.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

The controversial issue of coverage for rideshare drivers has been debated for several years now. Calls for regulation abound, and several states have recently passed laws requiring more explicit coverage (CA AB2293 , IL SB 2774, and CO SB 14-125).

Why has it been so confusing and frustrating? It comes down to two aspects: 1) creating insurance products that recognize and cover the duality of personal and commercial functions for a single vehicle, and 2) clarifying who is primarily responsible for coverage at different times, or “modes” of a rideshare driver’s activity. These modes have been more commonly and frequently described as “periods”:

Period 1:  driver is actively seeking riders (app is on)
Period 2:  driver has been matched to a rider and is en route to pick up
Period 3:  rider has embarked vehicle

Periods 2 and 3 are covered by the commercial policy of the TNC (Transportation Network Company). Only in 2014 did legislation clarify which type of insurance products would be possible for coverage during Period 1. (States differ on effective dates by when drivers need to choose). Those options are:

1.  Personal auto insurance that recognizes TNC use
2. Commercial insurance (separate from the policy provided by the TNC)
3. Primary liability insurance provided by the TNC

Metromile is proud to offer a solution for option 1!

Other insurance providers are piloting new products as well, but it appears as if they will be charging customers more for this expanded recognition and coverage. Typically, option 2 is expensive and not realistic for drivers to afford long-term.

Outright ‘personal’ time has been relatively more clear:  the rideshare app isn’t on and the driver isn’t actively looking for riders. Thus far, personal auto insurance hasn’t traditionally included coverage for anyone using their car for rideshare (or livery) services. That’s old-world thinking though – when no one could imagine a time where a personal vehicle could also be successfully employed for, essentially, commercial use (i.e. as a cab).

No one can deny the rapid pace of innovation across industries today. Ultimately, it’s the consumer who experiences any Imbalances when adjacent services and products don’t keep pace within their ecosystem. At Metromile, we are motivated by our mission to revolutionize the auto insurance industry – we couldn’t be more excited to bring this new tangible solution to the driver community!

Stay tuned for more!